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Bright Falls: “‘Dusk’ is a divorce record”

Thurles outfit Bright Falls tackle their fears in latest single ‘Come Of Age’, with debut album ‘Dusk’ just around the corner. Their mix of influences, which includes grunge and The Grateful Dead, make for an inventive and varied rock sound with a nice spattering of mellotron along the way.

I talked to vocalist Eddie McCormack ahead of the album’s release, and he went in-depth on the story behind the album…

First of all, congrats on the new record. Tell me about the story behind it…

Thanks. The idea for ‘Dusk’ came from a song that I had written in 2019, which we had recorded and released in 2020, called ‘The Widows’ Homes’. After writing that song I just wanted to tell more of the story. I felt like that track needed a beginning and an end in the form of a full LP.

Dusk is a ‘divorce’ record told from the perspective of someone who struggles to come to terms with the break-up of the relationship. So it’s a journey from nostalgia to heartbreak to the fear of being alone and eventually finding clarity. A lot of this was inspired from other break-up records like Springsteen’s ‘Tunnel of Love’, ‘Kanye West’s ‘808’s & Heartbreak’, and Turnover’s ‘Peripheral Vision’.

Can you tell me a story or two from the tracks on the record – what are they about?

The opening track ‘Dusk’ is about the early days of the relationship, It’s basically the protagonist being caught in a nostalgia coma and almost refusing to face up to the fact that the relationship is disintegrating in front of them. As much as it is about nostalgia it is also about confusion and desperation and hoping for reconciliation.

One of my favorite tracks from the record is ‘Settling’, this is where the character finally realises the relationship is finished. From here they go into basically a downward spiral. This song has a lot of angst. The protagonist is looking back on the relationship with a view that it was essentially doomed from the start. It’s really hopeless, maybe a little melodramatic too. But I enjoy that.

Do you feel the full length record builds on the story of Bright Falls, and how?

I feel that Dusk is much more representative of what I want Bright Falls to be. Our first release was an EP and it’s pretty much worlds away from what Dusk is. I have written hundreds of songs but this was the first time I actually wrote an album. The first release was definitely a learning curve for figuring out what I wanted to represent me as an artist. At the moment I am writing LP 2 and it’s going in a different direction from what Dusk is. But I guess that’s the fun in songwriting for me, being able to see your growth as an artist and expressing yourself in a way that’s true to yourself.

It’s fairly unusual to see an Irish act cite The Grateful Dead – how do they play into what you do?

That was for our track Come of Age that we recently released. Come of Age was written around the same time as The Widows’ Homes, so around 2019, and I remember getting into a lot more of The Grateful Dead in 2018, I Think I had American Beauty and Workingman’s Dead on rotation back then. For Come of Age I had this riff, and I felt like it was something Jerry Garcia would play and I tried to inject some of the Dead into that track… I’m not sure how much of a Grateful Dead vibe anyone gets off that song but they were an influence for sure when approaching guitar parts for that track.

Groundhopping: Shamrock Rovers (v Molde, Tallaght Stadium)

Competition: Europa Conference League Group F

Date: 13 October 2022

Result: Shamrock Rovers 0 – 2 Molde

Tickets: I’ve decided I’m all in for Shamrock Rovers Europa Conference League Group Stage. €75 for the three Shamrock Rovers home games. €30 for kids for the same. There were more expensive tickets, but I don’t need to be in the padded seats!

Attendance: 5,860

Game/ Experience Rating:  ⭐⭐

The Game: With Shamrock Rovers coming under increasing pressure at the top of the League of Ireland, Stephen Bradley has made it clear their priority is no longer Europe, but ensuring they maintain their Irish title. Which is a shame, but I get it: trying to get out of this group was always going to be a big ask, and while any kind of result is worth a serious cash influx, it’s unlikely to top the totals involved in doing it all again from the position of Champions (which vastly increases your chances of a group stage as well as the obvious implicit benefit) next season.

This was not a sparkling performance, and I think that’s a shame as despite losing 0-3 away and 0-2 today, I feel Molde are beatable for Rovers on their day. In fact, had a very good chance in the opening minutes been put away – a fairly easy one on one – this could have been a very different story.

It turned out, instead, Molde got a relatively routine win in which Shamrock Rovers’ threat seemed to fade throughout. A disappointing performance and officially the end of the campaign, though it’ll be interesting to see KAA Gent drop by in a couple of weeks time.

Groundhopping: Ireland (v Armenia, Aviva Stadium)

Competition: UEFA Nation’s League, League B Group 1.

Date: 27 September 2022

Result: Ireland 3 – 2 Armenia

Tickets: From €20

Attendance: 41,719

Game/ Experience Rating:  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Game: I’ve seen some dreadful Ireland games over the years, and it’s for that reason, combined with the limited stock of players available to him, that these more exciting recent games involving a fairly fluid (if limited) football team have me on the ‘Kenny in’ side of what’s become an Irish international fan divide. This team are good to watch, and that gives a lot of leeway in my opinion, especialyl when the quality of player is clearly not there.

That said, they’re also flaky. Ireland totally dominated this game for 70 minutes, with Armenia offering almost no threat as a John Egan header early on and then a long-distance strike from Michael Obafemi gave Ireland a really comfortable lead. Two different mistakes within a couple of minutes of each other got Armenia back to 2-2 in the 75th minute, though (both well taken goals, too), a dangerous position for Ireland where a loss would have been enough to relegate them to the Nations League third tier.

There was another decent chance for Armenia at 2-2, before the game closed with a period of complete chaos, a VAR penalty for one of the most obvious handball stops from a defender you’d hope to see. Armenia got a red card for the handball, another for some surprisingly over the top complaints (it was absolutely blatant), and Brady scored the penalty to win it in injury time. Great entertainment.

Pastiche: “lockdown was a weird kind of blessing for an artist like me”

Pastiche is a Dublin-based pop singer who’s keeping her real name quiet, for now. Having stormed onto the scene with a series of lockdown singles, her early experiments with the fringes of the pop scene have a slightly offbeat feel, blending electronic leanings with punchy lyrics and a big, boisterous sound.

The journey has already taken her far enough to be booked into the iconic Academy venue before having played a single live show.

“It’s been crazy,” she says. “Such a rollercoaster. It was interesting trying to navigate releases in a fully online world when we were in lockdown. I released my first single ‘Chasing Down The Fame’ in November 2020, mid-pandemic, and just tried to work it out as I went along.” 

“I’m lucky to know a lot of people in the industry who really helped me find my feet, but if I’m being fully honest, lockdown was a weird kind of blessing for an artist like me. The whole world was at a standstill and I had all this time on my hands. It genuinely felt like I was working with borrowed time and so I could write, produce, plan, strategise and conceptualise a lot of work in a pretty short time.” 

“I do believe making the most of this helped me to achieve in just one year what a lot of new artists take years to do independently. Between my streaming and radio numbers and press coverage, everything I put all that time and energy into is really beginning to pay off. I was lucky enough to play an intimate gig in The Workmans Club as well as my sold out debut headliner in Whelan’s in November.” 

“I plan on doing many more shows in 2022 and next summer I’m going to hit the festival season hard! I am fully aware that things can change in an instant, but because I came up in this really weird time I feel able to navigate it. It’s unconventional but I’m not a conventional artist and I don’t plan on changing that anytime soon.”

Mufutau Yusuf: “In a way, I’m embarking on a pilgrimage to communicate with my forefathers”

Mufutau Yusuf is a Nigerian-Irish dancer, inspired by exploration of his own heritage, and by time spent training in the Austrian town of Salzburg. In his latest show, Òwe, which he’ll perform at Dublin Fringe this weekend, he explores these differing roots in an attempt, ultimately, to understand himself.

Ahead of the show, I talked to Yusuf about drawing together all teh differing strands that make up hiw show, and who he is today….

First of all, give me a little background on your new show, and how it came about?

Òwe is a solo work looking into my Yoruba identity, my root and my connection to my ancestors and heritage. Using archival materials to examine the various facets of this identity, the solo is an attempt to deconstruct a personal ontology, and reformulate it into a new body of knowledge, experience and perspective, and in a way embarking on a pilgrimage to communicate with my forefathers. This piece also intends to interrogate our conceptions about archives and to redefine the notion of archives and how we understand the workings of what is contained in them.
 
What can the Fringe audience expect?

I guess the audience can expect a dance performance using a varied movement expression, sounds and imagery to question ideas about identity, history, and traditions. It’s a personal, physical, and emotional piece that invites the audience to witness a journey of becoming.
 
What’s your dance style, and how do you use it on stage?

I was trained in contemporary dance but over the years I’ve tried developing my own movements language that incorporate quick and explosive physicality, emotional engagement and added with theatrical expressions.

There are obvious Nigerian influences in your work. Being raised in Ireland, how do you relate to your roots?

Paradoxically I feel both close to and far from my roots. The closeness comes from my relationship with my father, who is in a way my anchor. I still speak Yoruba with him, I hear stories from him, and he keeps me up to date with the current affairs in Nigeria. He always reminds me of the values of our people and raised me and my brother according to those values.

He also often relates stories of my childhood adventures growing up in Nigeria, making my heart swell and nostalgic and keeping those memories alive within me. And top of that I’ve also stayed connected myself through the food, music, books and of course I’m an avid consumer of Nollywood drama.

The distance I feel obviously comes from the fact that I was away from Nigeria for 20 years, only revisiting this year. This became more difficult to endure during my mid-twenties as I started to really question who I was and where I came from, despite having my father as a reference. Realising the gulf that existed between myself and my kins was jarring and I guess it’s what prompted me to make
this work.

Groundhopping: Rush Athletic (v Tullamore Town, St Catherine’s Park)

Competition: Leinster Senior League Sunday Senior 1B (sixth tier)

Date: 18 September 2022

Result: Rush Athletic 2 – 0 Tullamore Town

Tickets: Free in, just walk up.

Attendance: circa 110

Game/ Experience Rating:  ⭐⭐

The Game: Rush Athletic are already looking secure in Sunday Senior 1B after just a handful of games, a great achievement for my local side’s second season ever in the sixth tier of Irish football. Tullamore Town, however, are not, having been battered 5-0 by league leaders Oliver Bond Celtic on the opening day, and came to St Catherine’s intent on defending for their lives.

That made for an odd game. This was hyper defensive, with Tullamore’s most attacking players during the first half quite often no further forward than the half way line. That made them difficult ot break down, but it also made this a bit of a terrible spectacle for much of the game. It took until just after the 70th minute for Rush to finally take the lead, something that happened essentially because the Tullamore defense was too tired to deal with a run down the right wing.

From there a game of football finally broke out, with Tullamore finally forced out of their shell, and perhaps inevitably, Rush grabbing a second goal for their third league win of the season. A good win, considering the way the opposition set up, but a pretty poor spectacle.

Groundhopping: Shamrock Rovers (v Djurgårdens, Tallaght Stadium)

Competition: Europa Conference League Group F

Date: 8 September 2022

Result: Shamrock Rovers 0 – 0 Djurgårdens IF

Tickets: I’ve decided I’m all in for Shamrock Rovers Europa Conference League Group Stage. €75 for the three Shamrock Rovers home games. €30 for kids for the same. There were more expensive tickets, but I don’t need to be in the padded seats!

Attendance: 6,330

Game/ Experience Rating:  ⭐⭐⭐

The Game: Djurgårdens, oddly, are the fourth ranked team in Shamrock Rovers group, with Shamrock Rovers the third. I think its quite a balanced group with little between Molde, Djurgårdens and KAA Gent, though it’d be a stretch for Rovers to qualify.

Still, any kind of porgress is progress, and Djurgårdens looked pretty ordinary in this game, which on a better day Shamrock Rovers could have nicked. They grew into the game, particularly in a dominant period towards half time in which the Irish side were by far the better side. I’ve been hoping to see more of Jack Byrne, who has been struggling for fitness but is one of the best players I’ve seen in the League of Ireland, and when he did make it on, he was good but not outstanding.

Both sides could have won this, but neither really set the place alight. Still, a fairly comfortably point for Shamrock Rovers is great for the famous coefficient, the significant funding on offer for any kind of points in the Europa Conference League. They’ll certainly need to be home wins if they’re going to progress, though, so perhaps a missed opportunity.

The ground: Surprisingly, less are showing up to these group games than the knock out games (less riding on them as inidividual games, and slightly more expensive, perhaps). It’d be nice to see sell outs going forward. Tallaght was the same as always: a good, neat place to watch football but not one of Ireland’s most interesting stadiums.

Extras: This match made the news for a chant about the Queen that was a little bit tasteless. I didn’t hear it, as I was right down the other end of the ground (in fact, where I usually sit in Tallaght, the away fans are easier to hear than the home ones). What I did hear was Rovers fans chanting for Djurgårdens rivals Hammarby, and a vocal response from the away end, which was fairly comic.

Assorted asides: Djurgårdens has the best away fans I’ve seen of any European side in Ireland to date. Which is interesting as I’d rank Norkopping, who I saw play St Patrick’s Athletic a few years ago, second. The Swedes are a bit mad, but likeably so.

Paper Tigers: “It’s a Journey, Not a Destination”

Y-Control Photography | All Rights Reserved |

Paper Tigers burst onto the Northern Irish music scene in 2018, quickly garnering a reputation in particular for lively early single ‘Gucci Smiles’, which won a nomination for the Northern Irish music prize best single category. The co-ed punk rockers powered into the pandemic, with a rapid-fire gigging schedule set aside by force in early 2020.

To get their music out there, Paper Tigers have created a loose association with Blowtorch, a record label that’s done a great deal to get rock bands into the public eye across Ireland. It’s very much in the spirit of the punk community. Their broader ethos has been similarly hodge-podge at times, and better for it.

“When we were releasing ‘Ghosts’, I just started reaching out to a lot of different people, labels, blogs, promoters, just trying to get the name out there and raise awareness of the band,” singer Michael Smyth says. “Richard (from Blowtorch) hit me back and we started talking, he seemed cool and we just started working together. We aren’t signed as such, but Richard is a cool guy and it’s good to work with him. It’s led to us being included on the Blowtorch vinyl compilation ‘A Plan For Something’ with a bunch of great other bands.” 

Since being forced off the stage, it’s been radioplay and, in particular, a couple of impressive videos that have helped Paper Tigers remain in the public eye.

“When we were getting ready to release ‘Gucci Smiles’, we had already played a few shows together and to us it seemed like for this song it should be a live video, the energy, the way the crowd reacts to that song, bringing a narrative into it didn’t make any sense so we decided to get our good friend Bob Logan to come shoot live footage and patch it altogether from a few shows,” Smyth says of the video.